Third Worldism in Italy

  • Guido Panvini
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


This chapter starts by briefly reviewing the long legacy of Third Worldism in Italy going back to the interwar period. After World War II the main thrust of anti-colonialism came from the Third World, where the anti-imperialist message gained popularity before gradually spreading to the West. The Soviet Union was often seen by Third Worldists as a deterrent against the colonial powers and at the same time a possible model for modernization. And so the aid policy toward the Third World became a peculiar feature of the Soviet strategy beginning in the second half of the 1950s. In 1959 the Cuban Revolution further confirmed the Communist direction of Third Worldism. Despite this overall picture the historiographical reflection within Italian Marxism on the link between communism, Third Worldism, and the political and social conflict in the 1960s and 1970s seems to have been minimal. The reason for this lies in the fact that the expressions Third World and Third Worldism were born within French sociology and demography of the early 1950s to describe the processes of decolonization and the rise of new nations under way at that time in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. And what was meant by these expressions also regarded very different phenomena: from the question of “non-alignment” with the development strategies of emerging countries, from guerrilla movements, to movements claiming economic rights in more or less institutionalized relations with the international system.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guido Panvini
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre d’HistoireUniversité Sciences PoParisFrance

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